While traveling across the South from town to town, you may notice some of the finest properties are often funeral homes. The funeral profession has a long history of service provided by families with deep-rooted connections to the community. Situated in the town’s historic district, this grand Victorian mansion dates back to the late 19th century. The family-owned funeral home served the community for over a century before closing several years ago. In the 1970s, the property was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
In recent years, a series of storms severly damaged the roof and blew out several of the windows causing the owners to relocate their business. Portions of the ceiling have collapsed from water damage. Most everything was left behind in hopes of one day reopening. Unfortunately, the old funeral home continues to deteriorate with no future plans of renovation. Since the property has sat vacant, homeless have taken up residence leaving personal belongings scattered throughout the parlor rooms. Among the items were smelling salts and casket brochures mixed in with old liquor bottles and togo containers.
The former embalming room shows the most signs of decay, paint peels off the walls and vines creep through a broken window. The wood cabinets in the embalming room were filled with partially-used makeup as well as old chemicals. The styrofoam heads would have been used for wigs. A jar of Dodge Lip Wax sits mixed in among the old makeup and nail polish. Lip wax would hide cracks, cuts, or discolorations. The wax is easily molded and will not crumble or peel. One of the most interesting pieces of equipment left behind is the Porti-Boy Embalming Machine, manufactured by The Embalmers’ Supply Company. The glass dome holds a mix of embalming chemicals and water for dilution. A hose from the embalming machine is connected to a cannula and inserted into a cut made in the carotid artery to pump fluid throughout the heart and body. A cut made from the jugular vein drains out the blood through a tube down a drain at the foot end of the table.